Congressman Baird on House Leadership in Limbo, Status of New Farm Bill

Congressman Jim Baird (R-IN-4th District), who also serves on the House Committee on Agriculture.


It was a historic week last week on Capitol Hill with the first-ever removal of the Speaker of the House, which has led to legislation being held in limbo—including the next farm bill.

“My frustration is that this is a distraction that pulls us off for this week or ten days,” says Congressman Jim Baird (R-IN-4th District) referring to the removal of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-20th District) as House Speaker on Tuesday, Oct. 3 and House members being on recess in the full week that followed.

The House will be back in session on Tuesday, Oct. 10 with the goal of fast-tracking the approval process for a new Speaker.

“We need to get back to work that’s why I hope we can get through this process early and get started and make that decision and move forward,” he said.

Baird, who also serves on the House Committee on Agriculture, says it’s important to return to Capitol Hill to get the next farm bill across the finish line.

“We really feel that the 2018 farm bill [was] a very solid one,” according to Baird. “The only thing I think that we need to do is tweak those areas that might have changed in these five years—and that being reference prices so we’re up to speed in that area. But certainly, the bill that we have before us, in terms of appropriations for agriculture—we realize how important it is and how important having the safety net is for farmers and ranchers, so I think we’re going to push very hard to get that done.”

As far as the political fighting among House Republicans that led to the removal of McCarthy as House Speaker, Baird is optimistic in the direction of House Republicans moving forward.

“You know, there were only eight Republican members who voted to vacate the chair. That means that 96 percent of our conference did not support that idea. I think that 96 percent of us—we’re going to move forward,” says Baird. “We think we were on a positive roll that was important for America and we’re going to push to keep that moving.”

A new farm bill has yet to be introduced with the previous farm bill expiring on Sept. 30. However, the funding levels from that 2018 farm bill have been extended through Friday, Nov. 17.



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